Aging Farm Population Has States Experimenting with Incentives

MAY 15, 2006 - Posted at 8:08 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA, MO - Farmers are getting older.  And agriculture experts say that doesn't bode well for the future of food production.

That's why Missouri and several other states are experimenting with programs to draw younger farmers back to the fields.

Randy Saner is an extension agent who runs a University of Missouri program, called Farm Beginnings: Preparing a New Generation of Farmers.

He says one thing keeping young farmers away is steep capital costs for land, equipment and livestock.

That's why the program offers low-interest loans to farmers.

Saner says training is great, but the state also has to invest in farmers.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)